Bears stay alive to face Chinook


GREAT FALLS —Coming out of the 9C tournament and after a Northern C win on Wednesday, the Chinook Sugarbeeters girls basketball team has been on a roll. But after meeting another No. 1 seed in the semifinals, the Beeters finally ran into a hurdle they couldn't clear.

Thursday at the Four Season Arena in Great Falls the No. 1 9C Beeters fell to the No. 1 7C Belt Huskies 60-37. The Huskies are a favorite to take the Northern C championship and proved how they have kept an unblemished record now at 21-0.

"I think the biggest thing for anybody playing Belt is their overall quickness," Chinook head coach Charlie Robinson said. "Often times we think of post players being a step slower, but their post players are great, they are fast. That makes them hard to defend."

Belt is a very talented team and it showed on both offense and defense.

But the Beeters stuck with the Huskies through the first half. Chinook shot 4-of-11 in the first quarter and trailed 19-11. And the Beeters improved to 5-of-10 shooting in the second quarter and trailed just 29-21 at the half.

But with how stacked with talent the Huskies are, they could only be detained for so long.

Belt improved their 50 percent first half shooting to nearly 54 percent in the second half and really put some ground in between them and the Beeters in the second half.

The Huskies used an 11-2 run to start the third quarter to extend their lead and eventually outscored the Beeters 13-6 in the frame. And in the fourth quarter, the Huskies outscored the Beeters 18-10 to grab the 23-point victory.

"They (Belt) are a good team," Robinson said. "But I am so proud of what we did tonight against them. I think we gave Belt one of the best games all year. I think our girls really played well, and are they emotionally spent, tired and disappointed, yes. But everyone played their best and I am proud."

Makhayla Farmer led the Beeters with 15 points and Taryn Norby ha another good night with 11. Kayla Hanson pitched in six. But despite the solid efforts on offense, the Belt defense was just too solid to earn any real runs of points and overtake the Huskies. They pressed the Beeters from start to finish and forced the Beeters into 20 turnovers.

"Compared to what I have seen them do to other teams," Robinson said. "I think we did a nice job. And they were able to keep that pressure on us because of their depth, they can play 12 girls and not very many teams in Class C can do that, not with that intensity and that quickness."

Next up for the Beeters are the Box Elder Bears in the consolation semifinals this afternoon.

Box Elder 73, Chester/J-I 57

It had been a while since the Box Elder Bears had felt good about they way they were playing. Two weeks to be exact.

And after a first-round thrashing at the hands of Winnett-Grass Range, it looked like the Bears' stay at the Northern C girls tournament might be short lived.

But Box Elder turned things around on Thursday morning with a 73-57 loser-out win over Hi-Line rival Chester/J-I. And now, the Bears' postseason dreams are very much in tact.

Box Elder's offense finally got going on Thursday morning, after two less-than-average games, against Chinook last Saturday and Wednesday's loss to the Rams.

Against the Hawks, the Bears put together an explosive 16 minutes in which they scored 19 points in the second quarter and another 23 in the third to break open a tight game. The Bears led just 13-9 at the end of the first quarter, but the Hawks could do little to slow down Box Elder's inside game, in particular, Brandi Buffalo, who poured in a game-high 19 points. The Bears wound up leading 32-27 at half, then built a comfortable margin by going ahead 55-41 at the end of three quarters.

The loss on Thursday ended C/J-I's season. After winning the 10C title last week, the Hawks went 0-2 at the divisional tournament. Jocelyn Woods led C/J-I with 16 points, while Jenni Ghekiere added 15.

Box Elder (19-3) now has a chance to keep its postseason going. Against the Hawks, Aricka Wolf Chief scored 15 points and Crystal Stamper and Megan Parker each chipped in with 10. Rebecca Rosette added nine for the Bears, who now get a 9C championship rematch with Chinook this morning.

And now, the Bears will look to not only keep their Class C state tournament berth hopes alive, they'll also be hoping to exact some revenge for their loss to the Beeters in last week's championship game. Box Elder and Chinook play this morning in Great Falls with the winner facing the winner of the Winifred-Roy/Geraldine loser-out game later today in the Northern C consolation game.

Unbeatens Belt and Winnett-Grass range play for the Northern C championship tonight 8:30 p.m.

Box Elder 73, Chester/J-I 57 (lo)

C/J-I 9 18 14 16 — 57

Box Elder 13 19 23 18 — 73

C/J-I — Stine Haaland 1-6 1-2 3, Larisa Lybeck 1-4 0-0 2, Britnee Theel 1-2 0-0 2, Mckinley Sangwin 2-4 0-0 4, Nicole Wolfe 0-3 0-0 0, Jocelyn Woods 5-11 5-5 16, Katelyn Graff 2-5 0-0 5, Denerey Haaland 2-3 0-0 4, Kylie Richter 1-5 3-4 5, Jenni Ghekiere 6-15 3-6 15, Caitlin Vinson 0-1 1-2 1. Totals: 21-59 13-19.

Box Elder — Crystal Stamper 3-9 2-2 10, Rebecca Rosette 3-9 3-4 9, Aricka Wolf Chief 6-16 2-3 15, Brandi Buffalo 9-13 1-1 19, Shelbi Eagleman 2-4 0-0 4, Megan Parker 4-11 2-4 10, Tristan Parisian 2-4 2-2 6, Jaylin Parker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 29-67 12-16.

Fouls: CJI 13, Box Elder 17. Fouled out: M. Parker (BE). 3-pointers: Woods 1, Graff 1, Stamper 2, Wolf Chief 1.

Belt 60, Chinook 37 (SF)

Belt 19 10 13 18 — 60

Chinook 11 10 6 10 — 37

Belt — Mariah Gondeiro 8-15 3-6 23, Emily Urick 4-6 5-5 14, Holly Croff 3-4 0-0 7, Maggie Croff 1-3 0-0 2, Kelsey Permann 3-5 1-3 7, Hanah Croff 0-0 3-4 3, Danielle Meissner 1-4 0-0 2, Jessica Anderson 1-1 0-0 2.

Chinook — Alana Smith 2-3 0-0 4, Makhayla Farmer 6-13 3-3 15, Taryn Norby 4-14 0-0 11, Brooke Skoyen 0-0 1-2 1, Kayla Hanson 3-9 0-0 6.

3-Pointers – Belt 6-12 (Gondeiro 4, Urick 1, Croff 1), Chinook 1-9 (Norby). Total Fouls – Belt 11, Chinook 18, Fouled Out – Hanson, Norby.


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